Gartner Releases New Smartphone Sales Numbers
November 14, 2012

Gartner Releases New Smartphone Sales Numbers

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

In the “two-horse” race that is smartphone operating systems, the popular, Runs On Nearly Everything Android has long been favored for just that very reason. Unlike its main competitor, Apple´s iOS, Android runs on phones from HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung and others. It is this vast accessibility which helps drive Android to the top of the charts where sheer numbers are concerned.

Gartner research has released some of these numbers today, revealing that not only are smartphone sales continuing to grow, but Android is still outpacing iOS by leaps and bounds, taking 72% of the smartphone OS market share. Additionally, Apple´s Best Frenemie, Samsung, has now become the global leader in mobile phone sales, taking the number one seat from long-time contender Nokia.

To begin with, mobile phone sales (smartphones and otherwise) have declined by 3.1% year-over-year, according to Gartner´s numbers. While these overall sales have fallen, the smartphone market remained strong, accounting for 39.6% of all mobile phone sales. This near-40% also represents a 46.9% year-over-year increase for smartphones.

"After two consecutive quarter of decline in mobile phone sales, demand has improved in both mature and emerging markets as sales increased sequentially," said Gartner´s principal research analyst, Anshul Gupta.

“In China, sales of mobile phones grew driven by sales of smartphones, while demand of feature phones remained weak. In mature markets, we finally saw replacement sales pick up with the launch of new devices in the quarter.”

This stellar smartphone performance not only helped fuel the entire mobile phone market, but once again the top two competitors, Apple and Samsung, made up a large portion of these sales. “Both vendors together controlled 46.5 percent of smartphone market leaving a handful of vendors fighting over a distant third spot,” said Gupta.

With smartphones not only becoming more popular, but also driving the entire mobile phone market, the choice of mobile phone OS is becoming an important one. Now that Samsung (one of Android´s top partners) has become the number one mobile phone manufacturer, more people are choosing the Green Robot over Apple, either due to sheer availability or personal choice.

Last year, Nokia topped the charts as Mobile Phone Maker Number One, scoring 23.9% of the market share across the world, with Samsung tagging close behind at 18.7%.

These two companies have now flip-flopped, with Nokia coming at number two with 19.2% and Samsung accruing 22.9% of the global mobile phone market share. Apple, who sells 3 smartphones as opposed to many different smartphones and dumb phones like the number 1 and 2 competitors, came in third with a much lower 5.5%.

With the iPhone 5 being released in new territories in the 4th quarter, in addition to the holiday shopping season, Gupta says he expects Apple to have a stronger 4th quarter performance.

With nearly 98 million mobile phones sold, Samsung was a great driver for Android sales, bringing the total of Android sales up to a whopping 122 million in the third quarter. This earns Android 72% of the global market, while Apple´s 23.5 million iPhone sales places them in number 2 with 13.9% market share.

These types of surveys often find Android and Apple at the top, but they also find RIM continuing to lose their ground in huge leaps. In the 3rd quarter 2011, RIM came in at number 3 with 11% of the worldwide market share. This year, they´ve lost more than half of this market share, coming in at 5.3%. Though they´ve lost much of their business, they still remain in number 3, 2 steps ahead of Microsoft, who was only able to earn 2.4% of the worldwide market share.